Shark Skin Can Create Antibiotic Surfaces?

Senior Contributor
02.08.11

Shark skin is neat stuff, and not just to make tacky suits out of. If you rub a shark, it’s smooth going towards the tail and rough coming back up. This is due to denticles, a pattern on the skin that traps seawater and allows the shark to move through the ocean much faster.

An interesting side effect: this also keeps barnacles and bacteria from latching onto a shark: their skin is essentially sterile. It works because essentially, there’s just no surface for the bacteria to clump on; there may be individual cells but no big wads to infect anyone with.

Needless to say, this is of intense interest to hospitals, as its possible to use standard materials to create this shark-skin pattern. It’s currently being tested to reduce secondary infections in hospitals, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be long before pretty much everything for kids is made with a special shark touch.

Yep, sharks may save us from terrible, fatal infections. Unfortunately, that’s because they want to grow legs and chase us on land. Better grab your shark-plastic and start a running program.

[ via reader Jeff and CBS News. Thanks, Jeff! ]

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